The Portland Press Herald | By Ray Routhier Staff Writer – January 4, 2017
“The stories I’ve heard are of healing through working outside, and they (veterans) feel like they are accomplishing something and serving the community,” said McCall, 38. “A lot about farming appeals to them.”
McCall and two partners have created a new TV show called “Growing Home,” which focuses on veterans working in agriculture or other outdoors-related jobs all over Maine. The 13-episode series premieres at 11 a.m. Sunday on NBC affiliate stations WCSH-6 in Portland and WLBZ-2 in Bangor.
Each 30-minute episodes will focus on the story of a veteran, or a veteran and their family. Some of the businesses include potato farms, blueberry fields, a winery and a deer farm, in towns from southern coastal Maine to Aroostook County. The episodes will run for 13 consecutive weeks then be repeated over the following 13 weeks, McCall said.
The first episode focuses on Walter Morse and his wife, Aaron Morse, two veterans who run Patriot Ridge Homestead in Jefferson. With their two young children, they raise pigs, chicken and sheep for their own food, selling whatever surplus they have. Walter Morse, who served in the Army, was badly injured in an explosion in Iraq in 2007 and spent about three years recuperating.
McCall said he and his production team found that soldiers working in agriculture or in outdoors recreation is a trend around the country, but especially in Maine, where there is a strong tradition of family farming.
The idea for the show began with Deborah Gould of Sangerville, near Dover-Foxcroft, who runs a small rodeo company and worked as a Maine Guide. Gould, 48, wanted to create a TV show to celebrate rural Maine, along with its agriculture and recreation. Through business contacts she was referred to McCall, a TV and film producer based in Texas, and his cousin Kit McCall, who does film and TV work in Maine.
The show is hosted by Clint Bruce, a former Navy SEAL who lives in Texas and who introduces each episode and leaves viewers with parting thoughts. But the episodes focus on the veterans telling their own stories, combined with scenic shots of their Maine surroundings, McCall said.
“We want the show to be inspirational, and we hope that (the veterans’) stories will encourage people as they face their own challenges,” McCall said.